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February 29, 2008

It's been almost three months since my surgery. Since then, the news has been almost all good.

My recovery is proceeding, albeit slowly. I am walking almost exclusively with only (only, he said) a cane. It it only rarely I feel the need to resort to crutches — only on occasions when I think the walking is particularly treacherous... like walking down my very steep driveway to get the mail.

From a seated position, I can lift my feet straight up off the floor. I can and do negotiate the stairs in my house several times a day. I can walk without even a cane for short distances... though I don't like to take the risk. "Don't get cocky" isn't just a line from a movie, it's good advice for those, such as I, who wish to avoid face-planting on the carpet more than once a week.

I go to the physical therapist's office for the twice-weekly torture sessions, as there are some exercises and stretches I am as yet unable to do unassisted. My progress there is slow, but they keep adding weights to my ankles as I do the various routines. I'm up to a whopping four pounds per leg on the leg extension exercise, for instance.

I had a visit with the neurologist this week as well. After testing my reflexes and muscle strength, he pronounced himself very pleased with my progress... but he also scheduled me for a nerve conduction test.

Yes, another test. Since the surgery, I have regained the use of the muscles in my legs, but some are considerably weaker than they should be, and there is a remaining degree of peripheral neuropathy. In addition, some "wires" still seem to be crossed. For example, when whacking one knee with the little rubber hammer to test the reflexes, both legs react.

So, another test. This is the one I refer to as the Taser test. By sending an electric current into specific nerves and observing the muscle reactions, they can gauge the functionality of the nerves in question.

Of course, it involves being tazed repeatedly. It's not terribly fun, let me tell you. Really, though, I can take it. If it were being done to no purpose, I would object, but since there's a good reason for it, and might ultimately lead to a better fix for me, I can tolerate it.

So, to summarize: I'm doing a heck of a lot better than I was three months ago, and continuing to improve. I may not ever make it to 100%, but I am nevertheless very happy with how things are proceeding.

Posted by Russ at 12:01 PM, February 29, 2008 in Health

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I've been reading your blog for awhile now, never said anything, but I want to say now that I'm really glad you're doing well. I hope your progress continues to go well. Being tazed sounds like zero fun but if ya gotta do it, at least you have a healthy attitude. Good on ya.

Posted by: JT at February 29, 2008 09:32 PM

Here is a therapy suggestion. Buy yourself a case of Chivas and over the course of 12 days, have a friend place the bottles on the tops of successively higher hills.

There will, of course, be a modest charge for this helpful medical advice.

Posted by: Steve H. Graham at March 2, 2008 10:41 PM

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